Researchers examining the auditory processing areas in the cerebral cortex in humans have better characterised the processing activities. Much like the processing of vision, the processing of sound involves ‘what’ and ‘where’ streams. The researchers in the study reported on here have investigated the ‘what’ stream and identified three components which analyse basic tones, multiple tones and speech sounds such as vowels. This better understanding will be useful into a number of illnesses in which speech is affected. There is a write-up here of a study published in the journal Age in which the researchers looked at the performance of sportspeople in a various fields. They found that peformance for swimmers peaked at age 21 and for chess grandmasters at 31. There’s been some interesting work from two personal genomics companies. Using a large sample size, the researchers at these companies have identified new gene associations with Parkinson’s Disease and estimate that up to 25% of the risk associated with Parkinson’s Disease is genetic. The study was published at PLOS Genetics One and the study is covered in detail at the Alzheimer’s Forum here. The authors of a meta-analysis with a large sample size (n=6122) concluded that whilst there is an association between Homocysteine levels and Alzheimer’s Disease causality has not yet been established and further studies are needed. In a German study (n-104), the researchers characterised the course of the illness in people with a diagnosis of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration. In their study 57% of the people in the study were still living at home and 40% were receiving non-pharmacological treatment.
Dementia Awareness Week
This week is Dementia Awareness Week and the Alzheimer’s Society has a report here. Dementia Awareness Week has been well promoted in the media. Carer Tommy Whitelaw is touring several cities talking to carers of people with dementia and there is a video interview with him in this article. In Trafford the Alzheimer’s Society is staffing an information stand in the local shopping centre and also holding a concert at the local Arts Centre. In Dorchester the start of a 3-year roadshow which is a collaboration between the Alzheimer’s Society and Tesco (as the Alzheimer’s Society is Tesco’s Charity of the year) started last week. They are hoping to reach 100,000 people over the 3 years. In Maltby, Lost Chord together with the Alzheimer’s Society are holding a ‘tea dance‘. In Twerton, there is a sponsored open day at a day centre with the aim of raising awareness and raising funds for the local Alzheimer’s Society. The Alzheimer’s Society in conjunction with Tesco are holding a ‘Remember the Person Photo competition‘ to raise awareness. In Harlow, there are a number of activities including a collection at a Garden Centre, a reminiscence day, an information stand, singing session and tea dance. There is coverage of the work of HOPE – a group of people living with dementia who are raising awareness in West Sussex here. In Sheffield there are a number of activities including an event featuring a children’s TV presenter, a memory tree, balloon launch and singing. In Warrington the Warrington Arts Council for the Development of Music (WACIDOM) has organised a musical recital and there is also a tea event. In Cornwall there is a tea dance organised by the Alzheimer’s Society and Cornwall Care.
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